how do i keep my baby warm in his crib at night

How Do I Keep My Baby Warm In His Crib At Night?

It's safer not to use any loose or thick bedding in your baby's crib, at least for the first year. That is because too much bedding, or the wrong kind of bedding, can cause accidental suffocation and overheat, which are believed to be a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

In general, layered clothing for sleep is practical if you need to remove or add a layer. Pyjamas with feet are a good choice. "Wearable blankets" or sleep sacks that won't get tangled can also help keep your baby cozy.

Contrary to what you might think, babies don't need more bundling up than adults. As a general guide, your baby will be comfortable using about the same amount of clothing and coverings that you would be comfortable using at the same room temperature. An ideal room temperature for your baby is around 70 to 72 degrees F.

You can use a space heater in a cold room, but make sure it's fireproof. And remember that once your baby starts to be more mobile — once she starts crawling, for example — a space heater can pose a burn risk.

To warm cold sheets, place a hot water bottle or a heating pad in the bed for a while before bedtime. (The microwaveable type is useful because it doesn't have to be plugged in.) Just be sure to remove it before putting your baby down!

Here are some simple ways to tell whether your baby is warm enough: If her skin is blotchy and her arms and legs are cool, and her cheek feels cool to the touch, add a layer. On the other hand, if your baby is damp or sweating, it's a sign that she's over-bundled and moisture accumulates on her skin. Too much moisture can lead to prickly heat, even in the winter, so take a layer off or change your baby's clothes so more air can flow over her skin.

It’s important to ensure your baby keeps warm in the crib because babies can’t control their body temperature, as well as adults do. And since they can’t do much to rectify the issue themselves, it’s up to you to make sure your baby is not too warm or too cold while napping and sleeping.

There are many variables that parents can control and should be aware of to help babies stay warm while sleeping. Let’s take a look at them.

FAQs About Baby Crib

The ideal room temperature is anything between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The number that feels most comfortable to your baby will depend on if he tends to run a little hot or a little cold.

If your baby tends to be a bit sweaty when everyone else is comfortable, clothe him in one layer less than you have on. If he tends to stay cold, put on an extra layer.

Covering your baby with a blanket can increase his risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies less than 12 months of age should sleep in a crib alone without any blankets, toys or crib accessories.

Once your baby turns 1, you can place a blanket in the crib. But you have to be careful about the type of blanket you use. A light, the breathable blanket is best because your baby will still be able to breathe if he becomes trapped under it. Aso, never uses a blanket with cords, ribbons or strings on it, as these can choke your baby.

Your baby’s skin is sensitive and can burn easily. Temperatures that feel comfortable so you can be too hot for a baby. For this reason, you should never use a heating pad, hot water bottle or heated blanket to put your baby to sleep.

Rely on proper clothing to keep your baby warm. If your baby needs an extra layer, opt for a loose-fitting sleepsack placed over his pyjamas.

When it’s too hot, babies sleep fitfully or not at all. The same is true when it’s too cold. The ideal room temperature is where your baby feels the most comfortable and sleeps the best. Since all babies are different, this may take some trial and error to figure out.

If your baby is too hot, turn on a fan or lower the thermostat by a degree or two. If your baby is too cold, put on another layer, thicker pyjamas, or use a sleep sack. Always strive to keep your baby at its ideal temperature and help him safe sleep.

A good way to check whether your baby is too cold is to feel their chest, back or tummy. They should feel warm. Don't worry if their hands and feet feel cool. This is normal.

What to Know About Babies and Safe Sleep

As you likely know, regular blankets are not recommended for an infant, and the same goes for heavy clothing. These guidelines, and more put forth by doctors about infant sleep, aren’t arbitrary and are based on the best practices to keep your baby safe. Most of the guidelines were adopted because, unfortunately, if a baby’s sleep space is not regulated, tragedy can occur.

These deaths are heartbreaking. The good news is that many of these deaths are preventable, and practising the safe sleep guidelines devised by the AAP is an important step in reducing your baby’s risk.

The AAP’s guide to safer sleep includes the following basic guidelines:

  • Put your baby to sleep on their back until they are at least one year old.
  • Side sleeping is not recommended.
  • Put your baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface; softer surfaces are not recommended for the first four months.
  • Make sure you are using safety-approved cribs, bassinets, and co-sleepers (not older or broken hand-me-down cribs or bassinets).
  • Use a fitted sheet and no other bedding for the first year, including pillow and blankets.
  • Toys and stuffed animals are not recommended.
  • The use of crib bumpers and sleep wedges/positioners are not recommended.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, armchair, or other seats; do not fall asleep with your baby in one of these.
  • Take steps to ensure your baby does not overheat; don't overdress your baby.
  • Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Avoid exposing your baby to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
  • Take your baby for routine check-ups and immunisations.
  • The use of a pacifier can be helpful when it comes to preventing SIDS.

About Bed Sharing and Co-Sleeping

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The AAP recommends that babies sleep in their parent's room in a separate space for at least the first six months of life and longer if desired. This can be in a crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper bed (a baby bed that attaches to your bed for closeness and easy access).

At the same time, AAP acknowledges that sometimes babies do end up falling asleep in their parents’ beds. This often happens when moms breastfeed their babies in the middle of the night and fall asleep while nursing. 

In this case, the AAP recommends transferring your baby to their bed as soon as you wake up. It also makes sense to keep your bed clear of pillows and blankets while nursing so that your baby is safe, should you fall asleep with them.

If you are going to sleep for a short time with your baby, an adult bed is always safer than a sofa or armchair. The AAP notes: “Even though it is not recommended that infants sleep on the same surface as the parents, there are times when parents may fall asleep while feeding their infant. Evidence suggests that it is less hazardous to fall asleep with the infant in the adult bed than on a sofa or armchair, should the parent fall asleep.”

Keeping your baby in the same room as you at night can aid in breastfeeding, and can prevent SIDS, so talk to your doctor about the best set-up for your family.

Room Temperature

Because overheating can be problematic for babies, you may be wondering what an appropriate temperature is for your home when you have a baby.

As the Department of Health and Human Services explains, the risks of SIDS increase during the colder months of the year, possibly because of overheating caused by trying to keep their babies warm. It strongly advises parents not to overdress babies and keep the temperature comfy but not too hot.

As for what temperature to keep your home’s thermostat? It advises parents to “keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature,” which usually means going by their comfort levels. If the room temperature is comfortable for you, it is appropriate for a baby.

How to Safely Dress Your Baby for Colder Nights

Given that creating a safe sleep environment should be a top concern for parents, what should you do about keeping your baby warm on those chilly nights?

First, it's important to know that overheating your baby at night is a problem and is considered a risk factor for SIDS. In addition, blankets and any loose objects are considered dangerous during baby sleep. So what’s the best way to dress your baby? Luckily, there are several ways to navigate this to ensure that your baby is both warm enough and safe.

Regarding how to dress your baby at night, you can go by how you feel and how you would dress yourself. So if you only feel comfortable in light pyjamas one night, your baby may feel the same. Since your baby doesn’t have a blanket, however, you may want to dress them a little warmer.

But don’t go overboard. The AAP recommends that you only dress your baby in one more layer than you dress yourself. In general, it’s good to dress your baby in clothes that you can easily remove should the temperature change (or should they need a diaper change).


The AAP recommends swaddling younger babies, as this can keep them warm and help them sleep. Swaddling gives your baby a cozy, secure feeling and may remind them of being in the womb. However, it’s important that if you swaddle, you do so safely.

Most babies should stop being swaddled by the time they start to roll over, or around 2 to 4 months.

Sleep Sacks

Instead of blankets, the AAP recommends placing your baby in a sleep sack or wearable blanket if they need extra warmth at night. These are usually made of breathable but warm material.

The top of the wearable looks like any baby top or pyjamas, but the bottom half fans out almost like a sleeping bag or sack for your little one. There is usually a zipper at the bottom for easy diaper access.

Blankets and Bedding

Unfortunately, there is no way that blankets, pillows, and any other type of bedding are not recommended for safe baby sleep spaces.

The AAP lists the following as unsafe; they should not be kept in your baby’s sleep area:

  • Pillows
  • Quilts
  • Comforters
  • Sheepskins
  • Blankets
  • Toys (including stuffed animals)
  • Crib bumpers
  • Sleep wedges and sleep positioners
  • Anything that attaches to crib slats/sides

All of these items increase your baby’s suffocation, entanglement, or entrapment. Thus, the 

The safest sleep setup during the colder months would be a clear sleep surface with a fitted sheet and using something like a sleep sack or wearable blanket.

How to Keep Your Baby Warm at Night

Before you have a baby, you might not realise how much time you will devote to thinking about sleep. You will likely become laser-focused on making sure they fall asleep and stay asleep (at least for a few hours). 

And you may worry about whether your baby is safe, according to doctor recommended sleep guidelines, and comfortable—especially as the weather changes.

Summer nights have their own set of concerns, but perhaps the season that presents the most stress when it comes to baby sleep in the winter. After all, the coldest part of the day—from around 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.—is when your little one is asleep.

It's common for many parents to seek advice on keeping their baby warm during the night, especially when there are many rules surrounding bedding and sleepwear for infants. 

We'll also help you learn what temperature to keep your baby’s room—and maybe most importantly, at what point you will be able to loosen the rules when it comes to blankets and other coverings.

Here are the best ways to keep your baby warm in the crib during cold nights:

  • Dress your baby appropriately
  • Cover your baby’s hands
  • Use a swaddle or sleep sack
  • Monitor the temperature and humidity in the room
  • Ensure proper room layout
  • Check the outside temperature
  • Observe your baby

Let’s look at how to address each of these tips.

Dress baby for sleep

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In the summer, keep your little one from getting too warm by dressing him in light, airy clothing, such as a footed cotton sleeper. 

If you don’t have air conditioning, a diaper with or without a T-shirt is often enough in the hot summer months. To keep the baby warm at night in the crib during the winter months, clothe your baby in layers. An undershirt with a snuggly fitted fleece sleeper will do the trick. 

How many layers should you use? Use no more than one extra layer than you would need to be comfortable in the room’s temperature. 

If your baby is sleeping in a swaddle, don’t forget to count it as a layer as well.

Cover baby’s hands

Nobody is comfortable when their hands are freezing, which means your baby might get especially grumpy if you forget to cover his hands in cold weather. Soft, finely woven mittens work best, but you can also use a pair of your baby’s socks in a pinch.

If you notice your baby has cold hands at night, you can use baby mittens or even socks to cover his hands.

Covering your baby’s hands has an added benefit, too! It keeps them from scratching at their face and injuring their delicate skin. While you can cover your baby’s hands and feet, never put them to sleep with any head covering or cap, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Use a Swaddle or Sleepsack

If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to put your baby in the crib without any covering other than his clothes, you can swaddle him or place him in a sleep sack. Swaddling is a blanket wrapping technique that keeps your baby cozy and safe while mimicking the conditions of the womb. 

Keep in mind you should never swaddle a baby that can roll onto his stomach. Once your baby can roll over on his own, opt for a sleep sack or a swaddling technique where the arms are free. 

Set and monitor for optimal room temperature

The perfect nursery temperature is between 65F and 72F, says Sleep Advisor. So set your thermostat accordingly. 

Keep in mind that the reading on your central thermostat does not tell you how warm all the rooms in your house are. It only measures the temperature in the direct vicinity of the thermostat, which means the baby's room temperature could be quite different.

To get a good reading on the temperature in your baby’s room, place a thermometer in the room near the crib and monitor it periodically. Adjust your thermostat as needed.

Humidity Level in the Room

Humidity can make a room feel warmer or colder. People and babies feel better in an environment with a relative humidity level between 30 and 50 per cent. Remember, high humidity makes you feel warmer and low humidity makes you feel colder. 

To raise the humidity in your baby’s room, use a humidifier. If there’s too much humidity, your baby feels sticky or clammy to the touch, use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. 

Plan the Room Layout 

The room layout may also affect your ability to keep the baby warm in the crib at night. Drafts, HVAC vents, poor insulation, and even the amount of sun your baby’s room gets can all create hot and cold spots in the nursery. Therefore, it’s important to understand the temperature variances in your baby’s room and design the room appropriately. 

Avoid placing the crib near a window or under a vent. The centre of the room and the portion of the room closer to the interior of the home are often the most stable temperature-wise. Outside walls can be chilly, so avoid these. 

Vent Placement and Setting

Pay attention to where the vents are in your baby’s room. Also, check to see how open they are. If the room is too hot when the heat is running, you may adjust the vent setting to rectify the issue. 

Season and Outdoor Temperature

The outdoor temperature can dramatically affect the comfort level in your home. Not only does the weather affect the temp in your home, but it also affects the humidity level in your home. 

Higher outdoor temps, along with high humidity, will make the baby’s room feel warmer than the thermostat reading. The opposite is also true. Cold weather and dry air can make a room feel chilly even when the room temp is reasonable. 

So, how do you know when your baby feels warmer or colder than the room temp? Could you pay attention to his appearance? If he is flushed and sweaty, he is hot. Take off a layer. Bluish hands and feet mean your baby is chilled and needs more clothing. 

Stay warm and safe in the crib.

Tragically, about 3,500 children die in the United States each year from suffocation incidents while sleeping. 

This is why you should never place any objects in the crib or bassinet with your baby, including pillows, toys, quilts, blankets or any other bed gear (like bumper guards) that can press against your baby’s nose and obstruct his breathing.

Observe your baby for signs of discomfort

If you think your baby might be too cold or too hot, observe him. If needed, touch his forehead, cheeks or hands. If the baby is getting hot, remove a layer.


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